Attitude Determination and Control (ADCS) Engineer, Senior

Long Beach, United States (USA), Rocket Lab [4007886003]

Field(s) of expertise
Aerospace Engineering Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Job type

About this job

The global leader in small satellite launch, Rocket Lab’s mission is to open access to Space to improve life on Earth. Our teams are nimble, action-oriented, and everyone makes a difference. While other companies talk about it, we do it!


A first-of-its-kind platform in the small satellite industry: Photon, a versatile satellite platform, is a planned evolution of the Rocket Lab Kick Stage. With Photon, Rocket Lab now delivers an all-inclusive spacecraft and launch service. Customers bring their payload and we do the rest, taking care of the complete satellite design, build and launch as a bundled and streamlined experience.

Equipped with an S-band communication system, a high-fidelity attitude control system, and a robust avionics suite, Photon is the complete spacecraft solution for a range of LEO missions, from constellation development, through to technology demonstrations and hosted payloads.

As a result of Rocket Labs high launch cadence, engineers within the Photon team will have a unique opportunity for continued end-to-end hardware development and on-orbit operations.

Attitude Determination and Control (ADCS) Engineer, Senior

Reporting to the Photon Program Chief Engineer, the Senior ADCS Engineer will work collaboratively with systems, software, and GNC engineers in developing flight algorithms for attitude and orbit control. Specific areas of work include include the development and testing of attitude estimation algorithms, attitude control algorithms, orbit maintenance/control maneuvers, sensor/effector modeling, and testing of flight hardware relating to ADCS.


  • Develop estimation and control algorithms appropriate for real-time use on-orbit.
  • Simulate the system in both software-only and hardware-in-the-loop environments.
  • Help develop and maintain the overall software framework for spacecraft modeling and simulation.
  • Size sensors/effectors and participate in component trade studies.


Required Skills:

Expertise in non-linear state estimation, including extended Kalman filters.

Expertise in both linear and non-linear control methods.

Proficient with C & C++.

Expertise in Matlab/Simulink.

Expertise in orbital mechanics and spacecraft rigid body dynamics.

Required Education & Experience:

A Master of Science degree (or greater) in Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or equivalent.

4+ years of experience developing ADCS or GNC algorithms for spacecraft or other autonomous vehicles.

Preferred Skills:

Previous experience with spacecraft ADCS, specifically (as opposed to other types of vehicles).

Experience with testing of satellite flight hardware.

Experience with hardware-in-the-loop test environments.

Additional Information.

Able to travel to New Zealand, if necessary.

To conform to US Government space technology export regulations, applicants must be a US citizen, lawful permanent resident of the US, protected individual as defined by 8 USC 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorization from the US Department of State.

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